Posts Tagged ‘science’

My Own Personal Struggles with Religion

September 1, 2012 5 comments

Disclaimer: It is important to remember that blogs often exist to promote feelings, facts, and opinions about various topics. I do not claim to know everything about religion and my studies of it reflect that. Taking an Anthropology of Religion class and being currently enrolled in a Contemporary Human Problems course does not make me an expert in this field. I can, however, through observation, discussion with religious experts, and by looking through the Bible, state my opinions with valid reasoning. It is not my intention to offend anyone with the points of view I present, but at the same time, I more than welcome a lively discussion.

Despite being raised in a less-than-religious household, I was raised to believe from my own thoughts, really, that Atheists were bad. I did not know why or how I came up with that conclusion, I just did. Then I heard about not judging a book by its cover, a phrase that became well-known in middle school as a way to teach students to take the opportunity to get to know other peers. It felt like it was my duty to give Atheists a fair chance. After all, telling myself that these people were bad without any substance to what I was saying was not a reasonable judgment. It was at this moment, the beginning of high school, where I set out to figure out once and for all how I really felt about Atheists and, eventually, religion in general.

I tried my best to be a good son and a wonderful student. I listened to my elders and followed all the rules. I showed up to school every single day and tried the hardest I absolutely could. In retrospect, that is all I really could do. Of course, by being a good son and a wonderful student meant not having the terrible traits in life. This is why I never wanted anything to do with Atheists. I mean, an Atheist does not believe in God! They must also get high and drunk and have no value in life, right? This is exactly how I felt in middle school, which is why I never even said the word “Atheist.” I was just an ignorant kid who thought he knew a lot about life because of his straight A’s, but in reality, knew very little.

I had preconceived notions about being an Atheist and I let those so-called stereotypes overpower my choice in religion. I vividly remember one day in middle school where I was asked about what religion I was. I had overheard others say that they were Christian. Everyone already thought I was weird in middle school and I did not want to become alienated as well, so I also said “Christian.” I hated lying and I did not want to this forever, so I knew that something had to be done.

I did not want to be pressured into being a Christian and once high school began, I had a fresh start. I could be whoever I wanted to be. Before being labeled, I started to shop around at the different religions. After much research, I realized a few things:

I still did not like the idea of Atheism.
I also do not like Christianity.

Society led me to believe that it was either Christianity or bust. I knew one day I would get asked about my religion once again. In high school, it happened. I looked at the person and when I did not agree with Christianity and I still had doubts about Atheism for a still unknown reason, I finally said “Agnostic.”

They asked what it was and, my mind remembered exactly what it was: not having any religion. While what I said was a very much watered-down version of it, if I could remember that, then there must have been something special about this religion. Why did I choose Agnosticism over everything else?

Now, we jump ahead five years, to this current summer. I have become much more wise and open to everything around me. Having taken a course that had specific focus on religion, I could now make better assumptions:

I love the idea of Atheism.
Science is factual.
Christianity is not.

This was a radical change of mind, but I was still Agnostic. At this point, I’ve had the opportunity to read about religion, visit church, take a class, look through the Bible, and even talk to those who know a bit about it. So why the quick negative change when it came to Christianity?

I have come to realize that the Bible has many contradictions and the people who follow it religiously contradict themselves. It is at this point now if people have answers, then I am more than willing to listen. I want to know why God made man perfect and then man disobeys him. Is the Lord about war or peace? Is Jesus equal to his father or not? How can an almighty God not remember things and is he or is he not satisfied with his creation? Why isn’t length of years or dinosaurs explained in the Bible?

The Christian Bible is faced with potentially hundreds of contradictions. People have been studying the book for years with no answers. The authors refuse to tell us how long days were back then, why they believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, and will not say when and where Jesus will return, if at all. I have a hard time following and believing a story that, without a doubt, seems to be made up. I have an even harder time believing that others can follow such a story.

I am all about the facts. That is why science has and always will be much farther along in proving its theories than religion. Science versus religion has been a debate that has been brewing for quite some time and because so many people know so much about it, I’ll leave it as one simple remark. As soon as scientists can replicate the Higgs Boson Particle and close in and eventually figure out how the Big Bang happened, then the Bible and, more specifically, the Creation Story, goes down the drains. It would be at this point where the Bible would become one big fable, a work of fiction.

My choice of reading material that I choose to learn about has undoubtedly affected my views. I have become quite the fan of Richard Dawkins, one of the more famous Atheists, as well as a fan of finding flaws in religion, something that seems to be very easy.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.
-Richard Dawkins

If religious people had an open mind about science and what was/is around them, then this would be a whole different story. Diehard Christian students often learn about science from religious-based textbooks. For more information on that last sentence, watch “Jesus Camp.”

It is totally understandable if someone were to read this blog and think, “This author, this Alex Miller, sure is a terrible person. He bashes religion when he probably does not go to church.” And, to some extent, that person is right. For a long time, like I said, I thought being an Atheist was considered bad. When you live in a country that claims to be some eighty percent Christian, you cannot help but feel bad about being an Atheist or even Agnostic for that matter. Each day, I honestly think about how I feel about higher powers and I think, “Everyone else around me would probably look down at me, so I should do something about that.”

I try to do one good dead every day, both big or small. This at first started out as something I should do, but something inside me had an awakening and it changed into something I like to do.

For the last six or seven years, I tried balancing believing I should be a good person and the struggle of not believing in God.
I was able to have an open mind, be a good person, and end up a non-believer.
Agnosticism allows us to have a free mind and be more open and live fuller lives.
Why would any sort of religion want to take that away?